Evangelist Billy “Red” Kelly said one time that he had made it to the age that when he accidentally drops something on the floor, he pauses before he picks it up so that he can look around to see if anything else needs to be done while he’s down there.
I saw that old joke circulating on Facebook the other day, and was reminded of Brother Kelly, a man of incredible girth. Trust me when I tell you that people laughed a lot harder when he told it from the pulpit than they do now reading it on Facebook.
There’s actually a biblical truth in that old joke, because the Scriptures tell us in Ephesians 5:16 to redeem the time. So, it would be biblical to go ahead and do something else while you’re down there on the floor picking something up.
When I worked for The Associated Press, we reporters would always look for additional stories to write when we were dispatched to some distant town to cover news. One time, I had been dispatched to a small town in eastern Kentucky to cover a high-profile murder case. That was before cell phones had become common. I carried a beeper on my belt at the time. My editor “beeped” me, so I looked around for a phone booth to call in. Seeing none, I walked into a church in that little town and asked if I could use the phone. A rather rude secretary with an unpleasant scowl told me “no.”
Perhaps I would have forgotten about that incident by now if not for what happened a few days later. I was traveling for an interview with an official in the state Capitol and my car quit. I coasted to the side of the road and rolled to a stop. I started walking toward the closest building about a quarter of a mile away. When I got close, I realized it was a bar. I walked inside and asked the bartender if I could use the phone. The bartender was so very gracious, handing me the phone, even offering me something to drink.
So, I’ve never forgotten being turned away from the church but welcomed into the bar. It’s a story that I’ve told many times since to church people, reminding them that the Bible calls for them to be kind, compassionate, hospitable people. Not mean, nasty and inhospitable.
If ever you’re looking for a way to redeem the time, look around and see if you can find a way to help a fellow human being.
You can reach Roger Alford at 502-514-6857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.